Hoping to continue the “success” that came with Heroes back in 2006, NBC has launched The Cape, a new superhero show set in the same vein as Batman and Daredevil, ordinary men doing extraordinary things. The series kicked off with a two-hour premiere this past Sunday, January 9. While it may be too early to say for certain, this show seems like it will be dead within a month.
The Cape starts off with Palm City detective/family man Vince Faraday stumbling onto a massive conspiracy involving a villain named Chess and a mysterious substance called L9. After discovering that Chess is also funding the city’s new police force and responsible for L9, Vince is framed and left for dead. Following that, Vince gets rescued by a group of traveling circus freaks led by Keith David (and one seriously pissed off midget) that have special abilities and go around robbing banks, in their off time. Vince, who we are supposed to believe is a straight cop no matter what, lets the circus people use his ID card to commit crimes and expects something in return. Of course, the blame cannot be set entirely on his shoulders; not when the guy who framed Vince and sent some guards to shoot and kill him did not think about deleting his name from the mainframe. After that, Keith David and the carnies decided to teach Vince some of their special abilities so he can take vengeance and save the city as THE CAPE–FIGHTING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY. HE WILL SHOW THAT ONE MAN CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
The description above covers the first half hour of episode one. Following that we see Vince in fight with Scales, who is essentially a toned down version of Batman villain, Killer Croc, as played by Vinnie Jones. After the fight Vince crosses paths with Orwell a mysterious blogger who is trying to show the citizens of Palm City the corrupt cops (Orwell is played by Summer Glau, in a terribly underused and underdeveloped role). Orwell and Vince develop an alliance in what amounts to about 20 seconds of airtime. The episode ends after a scene where Vince tries out dressing up and talks with his son about the saving Keith from thugs.
If there is one positive thing I can say about The Cape, it’s that it definitely has the potential to be something cool. Think the origin of Robin mixed with a little bit of Daredevil and Iron Man, but it is tarnished thanks to some cheesy dialogue and overacting from the most prominent character. David Lyons apparently didn’t get the memo that this show is intended to be cheesy in an early comic book TV show sort of way, so he tries to find a balance between Spider-Man one-liners and gruff Batman toughness that makes him seem more like a guy who is trying to emulate a superhero rather than a real one.
The rest of the cast seems to try and outdo each other in terms of hamming it up and full-level parody archetypes. However, they all lose to Keith David, who seems to realize how screwed the show is going to end up. The villains do all seem like they would fit in some comic book universe. The aforementioned Chess in particular would fit well with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. The last thing that I will touch on is how incredibly invincible most of these characters seem. I am not a real stickler for realism, but some of the stuff these guys pushes all the laws of the universe. Last I checked, no one learned how to catch knives with their hands or a freaking cape. Nor did they learn how to jump out of what appeared to be at least a 20-story building, land on a car, and still come back looking like they only suffered a minor cough.
To be frank, there is literally nothing about The Cape to draw you in. A show that sounded cool on paper ended up being crap wiped up with the paper. After recent cartoons like Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Young Justice, comic and TV fans know what to expect out of superhero shows, and this is not it. Overall, it feels like something that should have been made back when Joel Schumacher did the Batman films; the only thing that is missing on The Cape are the perky nipples.
Score: 1 out of 5